In preparation for the general election on the 8th June the school council and history department organised the St Thomas More Election Debate. Four Sixth Form students volunteered to speak at this event, and over fifty students and staff attended the debate.

Labour The candidates were given five minutes to speak and the order of the debate was decided by a draw. The star of the debate was undoubtedly our Head Girl Simran Cheema - surely destined to walk the corridors of power in the years to come. In her speech she rounded on Theresa May:

“She claims this election is about Brexit…however there is more to it than what meets the eye. We are the fifth largest economy in the world yet have nurses go to foodbanks because they cannot afford to feed themselves, let alone provide for their families.” She ended her speech imploring people to vote Labour because: “it is the party of people’s hopes and aspirations”.

Green Party Unfortunately our Green candidate from Sixth Form was unable to attend because of exam commitments, and Mr Hanna stood in at the last moment. In a typically robust and humorous speech he stated that the Green Party was the one for the young, not Labour or Conservative led by aging politicians of 68 and 60 years respectively.

He raised international concerns noting that: “the world is a dangerous place at present and our foreign policy under Blair and Cameron, and then May has been a disaster….and called for an ethical foreign policy. He ended his speech with the rally cry.” I know what some of you might be thinking. The Greens cannot win my constituency. Well you are wrong... nothing is impossible. Didn’t they say that Leicester City could never win the Premier League?”

Conservatives Our next candidate was Charley Jeynes representing the Conservative party. Charley bravely presented a spirited speech in support of the Conservative party in what was a friendly but clearly partisan audience. She emphasised that there were three clear issues at stake at this election, “Brexit, taxation and security.”

She felt that Theresa May “offers a clear directive to improve our society tackling the three most prominent issues facing the UK: Brexit, taxation and security.”

Charley believed that Theresa May and the Conservatives” set forward proposals to take immigration and implement a national police force approaching the security concern head on, as opposed to pumping money into a defective and corrupt system.”

Liberal Democrats Our final candidate was our deputy head boy-elect Sukhraj (Sunny) Malhi, a stalwart of our School Council in his earlier years at the school. Sunny was representing the Liberal Democrats, and he concentrated on Brexit in his speech:

“we strongly believe that Britain’s relationship with its neighbours is stronger as part of the European Union… Britan is better off in the EU.”

He stated the Lib Dems would provide “a stable economy more than just discipline overspending,” and that they would “make a positive case for immigration” and that they would establish a fairer system for student fees so that “highearning graduates would pay their tuition fees in full and eliminate systematic discrimination against part time students”.

There were no volunteers to speak on behalf of any other political party in this debate.

Congratulations must go to all contributors for this lively debate and I would like to thank them for their effort in preparing and presenting their cases.

School Ballot Our school election was organised by Ms Marlow and her Yr 10 ASDAN group. They designed and printed the ballot sheets, and also arranged for the distribution and collection of the ballot papers. They also counted out the papers and I was able to announce the result at 2.50pm.

For a full break-down of results please see More News.

The decline in support for UKIP is even more marked going down from 12% in 2015 to 9.6% this year

This was a very interesting election both in school and nationally. In terms of evaluating our participation in this election process I have used the school model:

What went well:

• The debate in school was very good and the students performed admirably in the circumstances.

• Most staff and students participated in the election and we were able to get the result out before the end of the day.

Even better if:

• The turnout in our school election was lower this year than in 2013. This is partly explained by the none-participation of years 11 & 13 who were involved in exams and did not have form assemblies during election week.

• Staff turn out was lower this time

• Unfortunately we can’t choose when the election is to be held, if we could it would not be during exams!

• It would be ideal if we could extend the length of the debate so that there was an opportunity to question the candidates

• It would also be ideal to invite representatives for the local area to join in our debate.

It is most likely that the next election will not be 5 years away, and to hear some pundits talk, it may be as soon as the autumn of this year. Whatever date the election is called we will plan to get as many students and staff as possible to participate, thus improving their understanding and how our political system works.